A match made in heaven and materialized in the Bewitching Kitchen! We were lucky to get a huge bag of fresh dill from a departmental colleague and I had some feta cheese hanging in the fridge. One thing led to another and here we are!

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

475g white bread flour
25g whole-wheat flour
9g salt
350g water
65g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced (or amount to taste)
50-100g feta cheese, crumbled

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the starter in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add the two types of flour, and the salt. Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 3 minutes at low-speed all the time. Add the dill, knead for another minute to incorporate. If the dough is too sticky, add 1/4 cup flour, you want the dough to start clearing the sides of the bowl, but still be sticky at the bottom.

Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, add the feta and gently mix it in. Don’t worry about incorporating it, it will all go into the dough as you fold it. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Leave at room temperature one hour, and then place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F. Invert the dough over parchment paper, rub gently tapioca flour on the surface. Score with the pattern of your choice and bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. Cool completely over a rack before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For the scoring of the surface I used a combination of razor blade and scissors. The bread had impressive oven spring, but I liked the way the design ended up. As to the flavor, I noticed that the dill came through stronger on the second day of the loaf sitting at room temperature. Usually in the evening of day #2 we slice what is left and freeze for later, so that’s what we did.

Really nice to bite into a little piece of feta cheese…..

ONE YEAR AGO: Marinated Chickpeas with Slow-Roasted Red Peppers

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For those who are not into complicated baking recipes but want to impress friends, here is a great idea: Oreo balls. All you need is a food processor, Oreo cookies and cream cheese. The real step that takes them to a higher level is covering them with chocolate, and yes you can use compound chocolate without feeling guilty and inadequate. Nothing wrong with making life a little easier. Decorating them with a fondant bit is optional, you can add sprinkles, or paint with a brush of gold luster mixed with vodka. Or leave them plain. Keep them in the fridge and enjoy them either still pretty cold or after allowing to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so.

(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

24 Oreo cookies, any flavor
90g cream cheese, at room temperature or slightly cold
200g compound chocolate or regular chocolate with 30g vegetable oil
fondant to decorate (optional)

Coarsely chop the Oreos and place them in a food processor. Add the cream cheese and process it all until a kind of sticky dough forms. Make little balls, each with 20g of the mixture. It they got too warm in the food processor, place in the fridge for a few minutes before forming the balls. Transfer the balls to the freezer for a full hour, that will make the coating set faster.

Melt the compound chocolate and dip each ball using a stick to help it get fully coated. Stick on a base of styrofoam until full set. Make fondant decorations if so desired, paint with gold and stick to the top once the chocolate is set. Keep in the fridge, they stay good for a week or so.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: You need some type of a stick to help coat the balls with melted chocolate and to stand them up to set. I used a little styrofoam board to keep them upright. You can of course re-use the sticks, just clean them up after removing from the little balls.

To glue the fondant I used some royal icing I had hanging around, but you can also use melted chocolate. Consider using white chocolate plain or dyed with different colors, and different kinds of Oreo cookies to make the balls. Really a super fun project that you can definitely do with kids.

ONE YEAR AGO: Pork with Prunes

TWO YEARS AGO: Honeyed-Jalapenos on Spelt Pizza

THREE YEARS AGO: Bulgur and Chickpea Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

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No need to run away, I promise you this is a very flavorful way to cook butternut squash. Simple, fast, and perfect to go with roast chicken or grilled salmon. The black beans provide a salty, sharp flavor that complements well the squash. I have made it with the beans as they come from the package, and a second time I minced them. I prefer them minced, the flavor will be more pronounced in the final dish, but if it is your first time trying this ingredient, use them whole and see how you like it.

(adapted from The Vegan Chinese Kitchen)

1 pound butternut squash, cut in big chunks 
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil 
1 tablespoon Rose Harissa (or any pepper mix you like)
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
1 cup water
drizzle of sesame seed oil 
cilantro leaves

Heat a wok over high heat and add the oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add the harissa, the fermented beans, and leet them sizzle for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the butternut squash pieces, stir them well to coat with the oil, sprinkle the sugar on top. Pour the water and season with a little salt. Cover, reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes until tender. 

If there is still water, you can drain it a bit or reduce by boiling, as long as the squash is not too tender. Add the cilantro and sesame oil right before serving. 


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I normally roast or air-fry butternut squash, but it was really easy and fast to braise it. Leftovers were even better, the flavor intensified a bit, and it never got mushy, even after a brief encounter with microwaves. This will go into our rotation for sure. If you don’t have and won’t be getting fermented black beans to play with, maybe a drizzle with sweet soy sauce and a tiny bit of fish sauce will be a nice move.

ONE YEAR AGO: Karen’s Braided Lemon Bread with Blackberries

TWO YEARS AGO: Bulgur-Pork Tomatillo Platter

THREE YEARS AGO: Baking through the blogosphere

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FIVE YEARS AGO: Macarons with Ganache Noisette

SIX YEARS AGO: Quiche with Asparagus and Fennel


EIGHT YEARS AGO: Yellow Squash Soup

NINE YEARS AGO: Grilled Chicken with Tamarind and Coconut Glaze

TEN YEARS AGO: Chicken-Apricot Skewers

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Asparagus Quiche

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Two-stage Pea and Prosciutto Risotto

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Mellow Bakers: Corn Bread


The husband brought home a humongous lobster tail the other day (pictured in the end of this post), he grilled it for our dinner but we still had a substantial amount of lobster meat leftover. Next day, I brought it back in risotto form, and used one of my favorite methods to make it: the pressure cooker (for a flash back, click here). Not traditional, not authentic, but trust me, works like a charm!

(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and cut in small pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large celery stick, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste
fresh tarragon leaves, to taste
3 + 1/2 cups shrimp broth (made according to this recipe)
1/2 cup dry white wine
lobster meat, fully cooked, cut in pieces
lemon zest and juice to taste

Warm up the shrimp broth in a saucepan. If you don’t have enough shrimp stock, make the difference with water. In a pressure cooker, heat 4 tbs Olive oil and 1 Tbs Butter. Add the celery and mushrooms and saute until fragrant. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add the tarragon and rice, cook stirring until all grains are well coated with the oil/mushroom mixture (about 3 minutes).  Pour all the warm stock and wine  in the pan, close it, and bring to full pressure. Reduce the heat or use the specific instructions from your pan to keep the pressure constant for 7 minutes.  Immediately take the pan to the sink, run some cold water over the lid to reduce the temperature, and when the pressure is down, open the pan.  Add the lobster meat, lemon zest, a squirt of lemon juice, and simmer everything together, until the lobster is warmed through. Serve with fresh tarragon leaves, adjusting seasoning if needed.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Can you wrap your mind around the size of that baby? Since it is just the two of us, no way we could finish it that evening. Ideally lobster stock would be more appropriate for the risotto, but I had discarded the shell and remembered I had some shrimp stock in the freezer, so I put it to use. I have made risotto using green tea as the liquid and I almost went that route with this version. Most risotto recipes will have you add more butter before serving, but we never do that. Your kitchen, your rules, do it if you like. I debated whether to put the lobster meat in the beginning, but felt that since it was already fully cooked, the 7 minutes of intense heat could be too much. I just cut it in small pieces and simmered for 5 minutes. It turned out delicious. The tarragon flavor was quite strong, I used maybe one full sprig in the broth, and a few fresh leaves to serve. This was a delicious dinner, and super fast to bring to the table.

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TWO YEARS AGO: Pistachio-Rose Donuts

THREE YEARS AGO: Smoked Chocolate Macarons

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chocolate Celebration Cake

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SIX YEARS AGO: Tangential Quiche with Asparagus and Fennel


EIGHT YEARS AGO: Yellow Squash Soup

NINE YEARS AGO: Grilled Chicken with Tamarind and Coconut Glaze

TEN YEARS AGO: Chicken-Apricot Skewers

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:Asparagus Quiche

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Two-stage Pea and Prosciutto Risotto

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Mellow Bakers: Corn Bread


We have great news! On May 20th, we brought home a little bundle of joy, an 8 weeks-old female Dalmatian called Star. Full name is Ziggy Star Barker, a play with David Bowie and Star Baker. She is feisty, sweet, and the boys accepted either very enthusiastically (Prince) or kind of reluctantly (you know who). We are thrilled to have her join our home!

Ziggy Star Barker, born March 25th, 2023 in Eldora, Iowa – Rosais Acres LLC Dalmatians and Quarter Horses

This is a little video of her meeting the boys…

The Kingdom of Tatarrax



Stay tuned for future adventures with our furry friends!